Partners, community honored for support of breastfeeding mothers
The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition has awarded Great Bend the designation of a Community Supporting Breastfeeding for achieving a high level of community support for breastfeeding. There will be a community recognition of the partners involved with this honor Tuesday, Aug. 18, in the Barton County Health Department WIC conference room, 1300 Kansas.
“We are really happy about achieving the Communities Supporting Breastfeeding designation for Great Bend and want to recognize them,” said Janel Rose with the BCHD.
Business will be recognized at 9 a.m. More than 20 businesses in Barton County have endorsed “Breastfeeding Welcome Here.”
In addition, in the county, Barton County Courthouse, Barton County Health Department and Great Bend Regional Hospital have been awarded Gold Level Awards for their support of employees returning to work who continue breastfeeding.
Partner agencies helping with the Community Supporting Breastfeeding award will be honored at 11 a.m. after the Central Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition meeting at the BCHD office.
According to the KBC, the community provides support to breastfeeding families through their local breastfeeding coalition, and hospital and breastfeeding support groups. In addition, local businesses support mothers needing to nurse in public, employers support their breastfeeding employees, and child care providers support their breastfeeding families.
For more information, contact the Health Department at 620-793-1902.
World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, is a time to recognize that breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants and contributes to their healthy growth and development, said Janel Rose with the Barton County Health Department. That is why local health departments have banded together as partners of Central Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition to further highlight its theme for 2015, “Breastfeeding and Work — Let’s Make it Work.”
“Local members have been working hard for the past year to build community support for breastfeeding mothers through the ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here’ program,” Rose said. Community businesses and organizations have voluntarily committed to supporting breastfeeding mothers and infants by welcoming them and allowing them to breastfeed when needed at their location.
They agree to support mothers’ efforts to choose what is best for their babies and display a window decal that welcomes mothers to their business or organization, Rose said. More than 20 businesses in Barton County have endorsed “Breastfeeding Welcome Here.”
As a further sign of support, in the county, three employers have been awarded Employers Supporting Breastfeeding Awards. In Great Bend, the Barton County Courthouse, Barton County Health Department and Great Bend Regional Hospital earned Gold Level Awards for their support employees of breastfeeding mothers returning to work.
Bronze, Silver, and Gold Level Awards are based on work policies and practices adopted, and support accommodations provided for employees, from break time to lactation areas.
Ensuring training for licensed childcare providers has also been part of the coalition’s goals, and in Barton County 29 providers have had “Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers & Families” training from the State of Kansas, Rose said.
Central Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition members have also worked to produce a Breastfeeding Resource List that is given to new mothers by local hospitals, doctors’ offices, and health care providers, she said. This list contains information about where to turn for free breastfeeding help, as well as purchasing needed.
It has phone numbers and contact information for programs that assist mothers and for peer educators and support groups that encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding.
In addition, the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition awarded Great Bend the designation of a Community Supporting Breastfeeding for achieving a high level of community support for breastfeeding, said Brenda Bandy, KBC representative. The community provides support to breastfeeding families through their local coalition, hospital and breastfeeding support groups. In addition, local businesses support mothers needing to nurse in public, employers support their breastfeeding employees, and child care providers support their breastfeeding families.
“Great Bend has woven a net of support through which no mother will fall,” Bandy said, noting many nursing mothers abandon breastfeeding when faced with obstacles. She cited research showing the importance of breastfeeding support throughout the community, not in just the health department or hospital.
Bandy said support for breastfeeding benefits the community through healthier citizens, a stronger economy and healthier environment through savings in health care expenses, increased family connection, and reduced post-consumer waste from formula tins. It is estimated Kansas could save $120 million in health care costs and prevent an excess of eight deaths per year if 90 percent of Kansas families breastfed exclusively for six months.
World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, a global network of individuals and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide, based on the Innocenti Declarations, the 10 Links for Nurturing the Future and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.